The purpose of this proposed study is to examine the effects of military life on the academic achievement. Participants will be selected and followed over a 10 year period starting at age six. Grade point average from the end of second grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade report cards will determine how well a military child does with multiple moves within the 10 years of the study. Participants will be offered an incentive for the completion of the 10 year study. The results will give a picture of how moving multiple times in a 10 year period affects academic achievement.
Military Life: Effects of Moving on Children’s Academic Achievement
Only 30 percent of the students that started in kindergarten remained at the same school through the fourth grade (Bradley, 2009). Also data from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium, shows that in three of the counties that they collected the date had one in five students moved between June 2014 and May 2015 of the more than 160,000 students, more than 6,000 of those moved two or more times (Howard, 2015). Not only were the transfers the highest at the August start date and the date before the second semester started but also in October, November and December were equally as high (Howard, 2015).
“About 71 percent of children moved before starting kindergarten, but only 14 percent moved four or more times” (Scommegna, 2018). Frequent moves also create negative behavioral issues, which in turn could contribute to the decline in academic achievement. In the military, the active duty member will on average move every two or three years and that’s not including the times they will move their family within the same duty station. Childhood educators can determine which students are those that move frequently because of the behavioral issues that they’ll bring into the classroom opposed to those that have a more stable household (Gruman, Harachi, Abbott, Cataloano,
The Problems of Our Education System and Push for a Paradigm Shift
The education system in the United States is failing. It is not meeting the needs of today’s children and young adults. It’s model, outdated and obsolete, is not congruent with the emerging values of today’s society, nor capable of sustaining the economy. Designed for privileged men of western society, it was later turned around for the labor needs of the Industrial Revolution. It has been structured on the bases of mass production. It has been over standardized much to the detriment of the society and the individuals placed in it. Our education system is more about passing tests for a degree, and training to be worker bees than it is about learning. Yet at the same time, the system is not building a sturdy foundation for future workers and the economy.
The standards movement is concerned with raising academic standards and increasing competition. Real life is not just about academic knowledge and other aspects of life and knowledge are being neglected. The competition being pushed is based on the assumption that it will drive up standards; however, that has not proven to be the case. On the contrary, standardized education crushes creativity and innovation, the very merits on which today’s economies are contingent upon. The income gap is increasing at alarming rates and while not the only cause, standardized education is hastening it. People born into poverty are not being given the proper tools and motivation to get out of it with the way the system is currently set up. Instead of focusing on employability and the education needed for someone to actually work, all the emphasis is being placed on raising standards in academics. (Creative Schools 15)
The effects of standardization are deadening and creating segregation among students. The learning environment is sterile, and teaching is done in a whole classroom style rather than having students work together. Students not only are not encouraged to work together but forced into competition against one another. Individualism, creativity, imagination, personal expression are all being stifled. Even in very young children, when imagination and play are most critical, the standards of academia are being shoved on them. The nature of learning is fragmented as discrete subjects are the basis of the curricula. The interconnectedness of life that makes up our reality is ignored. Life skills and soft subjects are not of importance to the bureaucrats that design this system but for young adults who quickly realize how little they truly know about life, they are critical.
Children who do not fit the mold of this system are labeled as having ADHD and medicated. Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is not a true illness of an individual but a reflection of the sickness of society. Children are being overstimulated by life and bombarded by technology. They’re overwhelmed by the media and the sickening degree to which capitalistic consumerism is being forced into their lives. Then expected to sit still in a classroom and have information that in many ways is outdated and inaccurate, forced into their heads, all to pass a test at the end of the week. It is an atrocity and the poor children who cannot abide by this soul-crushing model or one who has the awareness and intrinsic motivation not to follow, is labeled as sick or troubled. Children are highly energetic beings; powerhouses of energy and that energy needs to be focused not subdued and vanquished like some evil entity. School should be designed to harness this energy to its full potential, not restrain and suppress it.
Some people believe that we all come here for a specific purpose but that we end up forgetting who we are and why we are here. Perhaps it is this oppressive learning environment and fragmented system that helps us forget. Perhaps it is designed to do precisely that. What is clear is the current model of education dulls a person’s ability to think creatively and develop multiple solutions to a problem, to think divergently. The longer a child is educated in the current system, the more they lose this innate intelligence. (K. Robinson TED Talks 2010) For some who retain this intrinsic genius, end up going on to doing extraordinary things in the world. Still, for some, a life of struggle is eminent as they never find their place in society having all their lives being labeled as strange or troubled.
Unfortunately, this standardized, bureaucratic model of education is a global issue. The competition is not just in the classrooms but between countries, and the U.S. has fallen behind other developed nations further damaging the economy and the children of this country. Leading the world in Education is Finland and Singapore. The U.S. falls around 31st out of 65 countries that compete in PISA testing. PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment tests 15-year-old students from all over the world in reading, mathematics, and science, every three years. The U.S. places next to last in measures of child well-being. The U.S. is not investing in education and teachers’ salaries the way Finland and Singapore do. “Finns believe that teaching is as difficult as medicine or law, and it is therefore just as hard to enter. Singaporeans say teaching is as challenging as engineering, so they pay teachers a starting salary comparable to that of engineers.” (C.M. Rubin 2012) The United States needs to place more value on education and compensate teachers to reflect that. Teachers here are not valued and paid nearly as much as they are in top education countries that place great stock in education. Yet, students in the U.S. have the highest debt. Perhaps people should stop worrying about all this competition and wake up to what is really going on here.
The education system is a bureaucracy ran like any other greedy corporation. It has been completely corporatized and is one of the biggest money-making industries. Youth are being led by the illusion that getting a college education will secure them a good job. Yet the reality is having a degree is no longer a promise of work in your field of focus, or even at all. For others, it becomes an “expensive irrelevance”, (Creative Schools 15) with graduates settling on jobs that never required their obtained degree. Students have been misled and even exploited by this corrupt system that leaves them burdened by massive student loan debts and in many cases, without a career capable of repaying it, or at least, absent of substantial discomfort, even hardship to themselves and families.
In the widely accepted model of education, children are subjected to academic “tracking” and this tracking can have adverse effects on many students lives. Students get separated by academic ability and placed into specific groups or programs. The problem is, being good at something is not the same thing as that something being good for you. Just because you’re good at something does not mean it is something you enjoy and want to pursue for your life. Unfortunately, many children have their fates decided by this practice. “As the story goes, the smart kids go to college. The others may leave school early and look for a job or apply for a vocational course to learn a trade of some sort. Either way, they have taken a step down the status ladder in education.” (Creative Schools 17) Instead of working with children and young adults to discover where their interests and passions truly lie, a tracking system simply places them in assigned classes according to overall achievement. Much as it is difficult to move up in a social class, so too is it in this educational class system.
As a result of this tracking, many students drop out or go onto higher education and into careers that do not fit who they are. For many who do enter into college, a sense of self has not yet been discovered, and their plan and purpose still so unclear. Also, important occupations that require technical training instead of college degrees are often viewed as less desirable in the land of academia. Occupations such mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, chefs, bakers, caretakers, and so forth, are all absolutely vital to society and without them, many of the elaborate and glamorous careers obtained with a doctorate or MBA could not exist.
The education system is vital to society for several reasons. One importance it has is cultural. It as a way to pass on the community’s values and traditions. It has vast importance to the economy, facilitating its growth and prosperity. “Its social importance to provide all students, regardless of their circumstances and upbringings with opportunities to prosper and succeed and to become active and engaged citizens. It is needed to foster attitudes and behaviors, essential to maintaining social stability and promote change where it is needed.” (Creative Schools 8) Finally, there is a personal stake in education. Every person has the right to come to realize their potential and to discover their passion and sense of purpose, and to have the opportunity to live a fulfilled life. Changes need to be made to ensure people have this opportunity. “We need a radical change in how we think about and do school—a shift from the old industrial model to one based on entirely different principles and practices. People do not come in standard sizes or shapes, nor do their abilities and personalities. Understanding this basic truth is the key to seeing how the system is failing—and also how it can be transformed.” (Creative Schools 25) It is imperative that this is achieved.
We need a more holistic approach to education that advocates for and inspires children’s and adult’s creativity and individualism. Ron Miller founder of the Holistic Education Review, defines holistic education as a “philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace” Instead of approaching subjects as discrete, a better system would focus on the interconnectedness of all things as a way to a more progressed society and a better life. “Holistic education is concerned with the growth of each student by allowing one to reach his or her intellectual, creative, emotional, and physical potential. It encourages the transfer of learning across various disciplines in which learners have the opportunity to openly and collectively discuss cultural, political, social, and moral contexts of their lives.” (Lauricella 57